SECAUCUS, NJ, March 20, 2008 -- Once upon a time there were two very tall young men.

One was from China. One was from Texas.

They both came to New York City and their names were called on a stage. The man from China would be moving to Milwaukee to learn his trade, the man from Texas would hone his skills in New Jersey.

Along with all the other young men hailing from places like Maryland and the Dominican Republic and Argentina and Spain and California, the two very tall young men from China and Texas stood out.

Back in early January, the man from China was considered the third best out of all the young men at what they did because of his ability to throw a sphere in such a way that it would cross through an iron ring before hitting the ground. Meanwhile, the man from Texas was right behind him, in fourth, because he was good at swatting away spheres before they had the chance to get to the iron ring.

Line of the Week
Al Horford (ATL)
March 19 at NJN
20 points, 15 reb
9-11 FG, 6 ast, 1 blk Video
Eleven weeks later, the man from China isn't even in the top 20 amongst all the other young men. Neither is the man from Texas.

What happened? Well, the man from China hurt his wrist, and then his ankle and along the way his confidence must have taken a hit as well. As for the man from Texas, he didn't get as many chances to produce because he kept hitting other men on their arms or with his body when he tried to hit or grab for the sphere, and that's not allowed. Plus, a man from Serbia & Montenegro became healthy and wanted to resume what he was doing in New Jersey before the man from Texas arrived to the scene.

Who knows if the man from China and the man from Texas will be considered as two of the top 20 young men at what they do again this year, but back in January they got to live the storybook.

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  • Korleone Young slide of the week: Carl Landry HOU (-4).
    Eddie Gottlieb rise of the week: J. C. Navarro MEM (+2).

    Overall Rankings - Week 20

    1. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    66
    33.5
    19.5
    4.0 2.2
    1.0
    1.0 .414 .284 .870
    Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 2
    Durant had another week where he shot better than .500 from the field, and he had another week where his team did not win a game. Not to mention, the Sonics gave up 168 points to the Nuggets on Sunday, and no, the scoreboard keeper didn't start tallying Denver's score during lay-up lines. It just looks like he did.

    2. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    67 31.4 9.8
    9.8
    1.5 0.8 1.0 .496 .000 .708
    Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 3
    Al Horford, triple-double threat? You know he'll get you the rebounds, he'll usually be good for 10 points too, but he's never been celebrated for his passing. However, after registering six assists in back-to-back games after not totaling more than four dimes in his first 65 games as a pro, maybe triple-dips aren't out of the question for Big Al.

    3. Luis Scola, F-C, Houston
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    63 22.7 9.2 5.6 1.3 0.7 0.2 .524 .000 .621
    Last Week: 4 | Drafted: 56 by San Antonio in 2002
    No offense to Scola, but there is no way that he should be getting as many shots as Tracy McGrady. With 30 shots by Scola over the last two games to McGrady's 32, no wonder the Rockets have fallen into a two-game skid after their magnificent 22-game run.

    4. Al Thornton, F, L.A. Clippers
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    64 24.7 12.0 4.3 1.1 0.5 0.4 .434 .323 .725
    Last Week: 3 | Drafted: 14
    Wednesday's 24-point, 13-rebound performance was the type of dominating stat line that Thornton is capable of producing for years in this league, but it doesn't make up for his virtual no-shows against Washington and Minnesota earlier in the week when he combined for just 12 points and six rebounds.

    5. Jamario Moon, F, Toronto
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    64 28.2 8.5 6.2 1.2
    1.0
    1.4 .476 .306 .739
    Last Week: 5 | Drafted: Undrafted
    Moon hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds against Miami on Wednesday, but come on, it was against Miami. You can't really brag about that one. That'd be like having an undefeated season in Madden with the difficulty set on "Rookie." It's too easy.

    6. Thaddeus Young, F, Philadelphia
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    60 19.6 7.6 4.1 0.7 0.9 0.1 .538 .333 .733
    Last Week: 6 | Drafted: 12
    From our friends over at The Recliner GM: Desperately wanting to know what Thaddeus Young's locker looks like?!!! No, not really? Oh. Then at least check out his teammate, Andre Miller's cubby. That's a lot of footwear.

    7. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Memphis
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    67 26.2 11.0 2.6 2.2 0.6 0.0 .406
    .367
    0.844
    Last Week: 9 | Drafted: 40 by Washington in 2002
    Navarro reminded us last week why he's considered to have the one best single NBA skill out of any rookie (outside of Horford's rebounding aptitude, maybe) - his ability to shoot the ball. JCN scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games (the Grizzlies actually won one) and coverted 6-of-10 3-point attempts over the pair of contests.

    8. Nick Young, G, Washington
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    64 15.1 7.2 1.7 0.9 0.5 0.1 .429 .398 .817
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 16
    After a season full of ups and downs for both Young and his team, things are starting to come together for the rook and the Wiz. Washington is 6-3 in March and just a half game out of the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, while Young has really come on strong, scoring in double figures in six out of those nine games.

    9. Jeff Green, F, Seattle
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    66 26.4 9.5 4.6 1.4 0.5 0.6 .438 .260 .716
    Last Week: 8 | Drafted: 5
    According to Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Green is unlikely to play with the Sonics in the Pepsi Pro Summer League in Orlando. Don't get me wrong, Green hasn't had a bad season, but you have to think he'd benefit in the long run from more work with the team in the off months.

    10. Julian Wright, F, New Orleans
    G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    42 10.6 3.8 2.1 0.6 0.4 0.2 .556 .455 .520
    Last Week: The Next 10 | Drafted: 13
    Just ask Yi and Sean, the Rookie Rankings are a lot about how you're doing in the present, not what you did in the past. Wright finally broke into the Hornets' rotation this month and New Orleans has benefitted greatly from it. His season averages might only be 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds, but in the eight games he's played in March, Wright is putting up 10.6 points and 4.6 boards per game.
    RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)

    The Next 10 (alphabetical order): Corey Brewer (MIN), Mike Conley (MEM), Daequan Cook (MIA), Glen Davis (BOS), Jared Dudley (CHA), Carl Landry (HOU), Joakim Noah (CHI), Jason Smith (PHI), Rodney Stuckey (DET), Brandan Wright (GSW)


    Noteworthy

    Chandler

    Wilson Chandler (NYK) showed what he can do with 15 points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes against the Pacers on Monday. If you're a Knicks fan, don't you want Isiah to roll the dice and keep giving Chandler some burn? What's the worst that could happen?
    Acie Law (ATL) returned to the court last week after missing time because of a sprained wrist.
    Demetris Nichols (CHI) is back on the Bulls after a stint in the D-League and nailed his first shot back, a 3-pointer. Meanwhile, Josh McRoberts (POR) returned for more development.
    The HNPAMY (Have Not Played A Minute Yet) Club: Herbert Hill** (PHI), Greg Oden** (POR), JamesOn Curry* (CHI)
    * = assigned to the D-League
    ** = injured

    Got beef with the rankings or have a comment or question for the Rookie Report? Send the Report an e-mail.